A contest between community leaders to raise money, Kiss-a-Pig is a regional campaign with competitors from throughout Southeast Georgia and Coastal South Carolina. It is the largest fundraiser of the year for the American Diabetes Association and concluded last Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in Savannah.
The team that raised the most money by that Saturday evening “earned” the honor of kissing a live pig. A pig is used because it is the original source of insulin used in the treatment of diabetes.
The 2011 theme, “Swine Wars,” was a spoof of the ever-popular “Star Wars” franchise and provided a platform for drawing attention to a serious and common disease and sends the message that people can take measures to prevent type 2 diabetes. There are genetic and environmental factors, but having a good diet and being physically active helps prevent type 2.
According to campaign chairman Dodie Gay with Enviro-Assets, “This was the largest group of candidates we have ever had and we had some very competitive people.”
The official 2011 Jedi Warrior competitors were:
Savannah Dan, Savannah Dan Walking Tours, Savannah
“The Heavenly Hogs,” The Heavenly Spa, Savannah
Bubba Hunt, Car City & Coach Jeff Monken, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro
Teresa Rodewalt, Secure Care, Inc., Savannah
Ted Felder, “The Hogfather and Lowcountry Hams,” Hardeeville/Bluffton, SC
James Gamble, Gamble Financial Services, Savannah
Dr. Tom Leitzel, Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort, SC
“Squeals on Wheels,” The Savannah Derby Devils
“The Savannah Boar Association,” a team of lawyers: Dave Smith, Brannen Searcy Smith; Nick Bruce, Oliver Maner; Quentin Marlin, Ellis, Painter, Ratterree; Ashleigh Madison, Savage, Turner, Kraeuter, Pinckney, Britt, Madison, Savannah
Peggy Stone, Doc’s Bar, Tybee & Rob Parker, German Auto Service, Savannah
Neil Paterson, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Savannah
Randy Shearouse, “The HAMS of EffingHAM,” Effingham County Board of Education, Springfield
Michael Shortt, Tandem Productions, Savannah
In the “Jedi Warrior” category, the winners were:
2nd Runner Up – “The Heavenly Hogs,” a team from the Heavenly Spa at the Westin Savannah Resort led by Cindi Moreno, raised $12,193.00
1st Runner Up – Randy Shearouse, Superintendent of the Effingham County School System, who raised $19,554.42
The overall winners who kissed Reba the Pig were the new kids on the block from Statesboro, Hunt and Monken. They raised $33,619 via barbecues, poker runs, golf tournaments and donations from Bulloch County supporters.
Their team was sponsored by J’Adore Bridal and Sugarland Candy, featuring sugar-free products. In recognition of J’Adore’s support, Hunt donned the wedding gown and veil and was walked to the front of the Hyatt ballroom by Patrick Hopkins, owner of Shane’s Rib Shack and another supporter of the team.
Hunt applied lipstick before kissing Reba. Then it was Coach Monken’s turn and the crowd erupted into applause.
The overall goal for 2011 was $235,000 and the campaign brought in $260,005.
Funds raised during the Kiss-a-Pig campaign benefit American Diabetes Association, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to curing diabetes and improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Diabetes is the nation’s seventh deadliest disease, killing more than 220,000 Americans each year. It is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, adult blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic amputations.
Many people living with this life-altering disease do not know it, partially because they may not experience any symptoms during the early stages. More than 24 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes and researchers believe over six million more may have diabetes and not realize it.
For more information about diabetes call Maria Center at (912) 353-8110, ext. 3091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.